Karoo audio tour: Historic Tour of Matjiesfontein

Historic Tour of Matjiesfontein

Walking Tour

45 mins

About the Tour

Tour the perfectly preserved Victorian town of Matjiesfontein with renowned author Dean Allen. Starting at the majestic Lord Milner Hotel, you'll be guided down the high street, through the immaculate gardens, and along the train station, ending up at The Laird's Arms for a well-deserved pint.

Over the course of the walk, Dean will tell the tale of the village's creation by the 'ideal colonialist', James Logan, in the late 1800s. You will follow Logan's transformation from a penniless 19-year-old Scottish immigrant to the man who built a model town in the middle of nowhere, influenced trade and politics, and toured Britain with his very own South African cricket team.

For more about Dean Allen, visit his website: www.deanallen.co.za

Tour Producer


The Lord Milner Hotel

Matjiesfontein is a small privately owned town in the Great Karoo, founded by legendary railway man James Douglas Logan in 1884. The village was bought from the Logan family by acclaimed hotelier David Rawdon in 1968, who returned it to its former glory before he passed away in 2010. It has been in the Rawdon family ever since, meaning the town has been owned by only 2 families in its 130+ years of existence.

Visitors will experience a real step back in time, immersing themselves in living history, as life here is a tribute to the early Karoo, the Anglo-Boer War and Queen Victoria's England.

Guests can explore the historic ambiance of the famed Lord Milner Hotel, its old world charm, gracious servers, and elegant décor - not to mention discovering its ghost stories. Here, you can dine by candlelight in The Hotel Dining Room, served by red-jacketed porters, and feast on local specialities such as Karoo lamb.

Matjiesfontein offers everything that a world-class destination does - yet is wholly unique in the hospitality industry. It’s a place of magic, history and utter relaxation.

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Major Landmarks

  • Lord Milner Hotel

  • Historic Cricket Pitch

  • Logan's Historic Garden

  • Tweedside Lodge

Directions to Starting Point

The tour begins outside The Lord Milner Hotel on Matjiesfontein's main road, in the picturesque front courtyard.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

The Old Post Office, Travellers Chapel, The Transport Museum, The Marie Rawdon Museum, Railway Museum, Coffee House, The Laird's Arms

Best time of day

The walk can be done at any time, but the gardens are particularly beautiful in the morning. You might like to start this tour around 4:30pm, to arrive at the Laird's Arms in time to take the world's shortest bus tour, which leaves from right in front of the pub.


If there has been heavy rain, the river crossing may be flooded. Please check this with the hotel's front desk before starting the tour. The gardens are also known to have a few resident snakes, so keep your eyes open and be aware along this section.


What a fun way to discover that there is more to Matjiesfontein than just the main road! Our 10 year old son loved it (he's a cricket fanatic which helped for sure) and we will definitely be back to spend a weekend at the gorgeous-looking Lord Milner Hotel.

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , about 4 years ago

It was awesome and so interesting!! Amazing history. So much fun to listen while walking. And my husband also listened and it was not me talking! Erika van Rooyen

Posted by Eavan R , almost 6 years ago
Historic Tour of Matjiesfontein